Last Updated: July 21, 2022
Yesterday was Day 1 of the 30 Days of Summer experiment! In case you missed my last update, the context is that I’ll be writing a daily journal for the next 30 days. What you’re reading is the first one. Here are some links with context about this experiment (skip if you read it yesterday).
What is 30 days of summer?
When I decided to do this and posted on Instagram about it, my next thought was: crap, what will I write about? What helped was deciding on a structure. I plan to have two parts in each post. Part 1 will be a “Rant”, which will contain a short discussion of one topic. Part 2 will be a “Log”, which will explain what I did in the day. It’s interesting how much structure can help calm nerves. Too many personal and organizational problems stem from either too little or too much structure. More on that in a future rant.
What’s the Daily Practice?
The Daily Practice is something I do every morning so that I can go through the rest of my day with focus. I’ve been doing variations of this for the past few months, but I’ve been following this exact practice for just the past month. Most of this is pretty common knowledge, so why am I talking about it? The idea is that maybe seeing your friend do it will hit differently than a Reddit thread by GamerGirlDotEth. I’d also like to give a Daily Practice screenshot update every day, so it made sense to explain it upfront so I don’t have to explain it again. I’ll be brief here since the benefits of these things are obvious, and I’ll try to instead focus on what makes my process different. See the image below for today’s update.
Daily Practice Log for July 20, 2022
Brush (3 mins): Lol, this is just a quick win to make it easy to start.
Breakfast (15 mins): Nutrition is too important, both for the present day and the long-term, for how much people our age ignore it.
Meditate (20 mins): I use Sam Harris’ Waking Up app, and I believe it is a lot better than other apps. I used to try to be a purist and stay away from guided meditations, but I’m now a huge proponent of them, mainly because they can guarantee progress. I’ll talk more about this in a future rant, but below is a quote and two 1-minute clips to give some perspective on the app’s approach.
“The real way to meditate is not to stop doing everything, but to recognize that everything is already happening in its own” - Sam Harris
Journal (10 mins): Journaling helps me be more in touch with my thoughts and feelings, and gives me the space to reflect and course-correct. For example, it helps me realize when I’m worrying about small things, doing things that don’t make me happy, or running into metacognitive blockers that are preventing me from making progress. As a corollary of knowing that I’ve outsourced the job of actively searching for such problems and fixing them to the Daily Practice, I can let myself engage in the rest of my life deeply, with less meta-commentary.
Situate (20 mins): “Situating” includes checking emails (including reading newsletters), going through my my todo-list (using the Things app), checking my calendar for scheduled events, and catching up on text messages, Slack and Discord. The idea is that, if I know I have a daily practice for staying on top of these things, I don’t have to worry about it during the rest of my life, keeping me relaxed and focused.
Plan (20 mins): Planning, as it sounds, involves making a plan for the day. Since I’m not doing my day-job for this next month, there is more free time that I need to plan for. I generally have an abstract high-level goal such as I want to learn design, and then spend this time to find the right books, articles, or videos to help with that. Ideally the resources I find would be thoughtfully crafted and a high-leverage way of using my time.
Workout (1 hour): This one is currently off the list since I can’t workout for two months (long story), but the plan I try to follow is to do strength training 3x a week, and either running, swimming, yoga, kayaking, or bouldering the other days. After 4 years of stagnancy due to dumb university stressors (I imagine there will be many future **rants on how broken the education system is), becoming active again has felt really good.
I want to stress that I am very far from perfect in executing on all these fronts every day, but that is not the point. Even doing this only 50% of the week is a huge value-add for me. On that note, I’d love to hear - do you have a Daily Practice, and if so, what is it?
Watched a video on Raphael Schaad’s design process. Raphael is the CEO of Cron, a calendar app that was recently acquired by Notion. It was really inspiring to see the way he obsessed over each detail in the design, similar to how Steve Jobs obsessed over button animations of the Mac (which drove his engineers crazy). I needed more Raphael content so I watched another video from 2012 of his journey from Switzerland to Tokyo to Silicon Valley to Australia. His passion for having an impact on the world is infectious! Below is one of the slides he presented:
Dear Optimist, Pessimist, Realist, while you were busy arguing about the glass of water, I drank it! - Opportunist